My thoughts on Doctor Who Series 5

I started to type this while listening live to the latest Doctor Who Prom. (I wrote about the reaction of the first DW Prom here.) It happens to fall on the same day as the North American airings of the Series 5 finale, “The Big Bang”. (You can listen to the Prom for the next week on the BBC Radio 3 iPlayer).

At a high level, I really liked this season. I had some apprehension whether Matt Smith can suitably take over from David Tennant. By about the third episode, “Victory of the Daleks”, I think Smith has made the character his own. The alien qualities of the Doctor (as a Time Lord from Gallifrey) makes this character quite memorable. Two examples highlight this quite well.

The first is his interactions with Rory in “Vampires of Venice”, particularly when he tells Rory that Amy kissed him at the end of the previous episode:

Rory: Did you kiss her back?!

Doctor: No, I kissed her mouth.

The other is in “The Lodger”, where the Doctor tries to pass as human in order to get back the TARDIS and Amy. The whole episode can stand as a highlight of this, but I looove this statement from the Doctor, after being told that his pub-football side will annihilate the next opposition:

Annihilate? No, no violence, do you understand me? Not while I’m around, not today, not ever. I’m the Doctor, the Oncoming Storm — and you basically meant beat them in a football match, didn’t you?

The Doctor’s companion, Amy Pond, has that vivaciousness and vulnerability that matches up against the Doctor’s alienness. Karen Gillan and Matt Smith (and to an extent, Arthur Darvill, who I hope returns next year with on-screen credit in the opening sequence) definitely have that on-screen rapport that shows in their performances.

It all comes together under the guidance of head writer and co-executive producer Steven Moffat. He who brought us the best stories of the first four seasons has taken the same brilliance in this lead role in the production of Series 5. The overarching theme of “cracks in time”, culminating in the two-part finale, was clearly his stamp on the series — a thoughtful premise that inevitably interweaves most of the stories together and brings it all back to the first episode and the importance of one Amelia Pond.

So, after considering all that, I’m inclined to place Series 5 rather high in my ranking of the series in the Doctor Who revival, but just under the still-can’t-be-beaten Series 1, which set the bar quite high in terms of the overall production values.

And now, the long wait until Christmas!


One Comment on “My thoughts on Doctor Who Series 5”

  1. Joe says:

    I really enjoyed this season as well. I guess like everyone else I was wary of Matt before seeing him in an actual story, but he sold me on the role before “The Eleventh Hour” was over.

    I thought Matt’s depiction of the Doctor’s anger in those early episodes was particularly well-done. We’d never really seen such a primal reaction in the Doctor as when he pounded on that Dalek with the oversized spanner and challenged it to kill him. Sadly, the Grand Moff and co. backed away from that anger as the series wore on.

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